Monday, 16 June 2014

The Soccer Circus Arrives Again

 Can you guess where this photo was taken? Given I have posted very many shots of my trip to Europe last year and I am wearing the red jacket which is predominant in many of those images it is should be easy to narrow candidates down a little. I will give you a further hint. It is in London. It is iconic. Let's see how you go.

 Linda was up and away early this morning getting her first "breaking of the dawn" walk in before work for the week. Consequently I was awake from 6.30am and have been unable to return to the comfort of sleep.

 Seeing as I was awake at such an early hour I flicked the television on and the first thing that pops on the screen is a World Cup football match between Switzerland and Ecuador. Now soccer is not my cup of tea but I do appreciate the World Cup as a contest and a behemoth of world sport which eclipses even the Olympic Games in popularity and support. Where else could you see Switzerland play Ecuador or Australia play Chile in any sport and watch it on television as you lie in bed in the morning. I think that is the great thing about the world cup. It's a gathering of nations and a celebration of sport using the one truly global religion which unites the world. Football. Or soccer if you like!

 That being said it is not a religion I partake in but I am not going to knock the game today. Just a small aspect of it! France were playing this morning and for the life of me I can't remember who their opponent was such is the lack of interest I have but it was quite funny watching the highlights as a French player went to ground after being shouldered in the back when he and his opposite number flew high as they competed for the control of the ball as it was in the air. The Frenchie took a fair whack but nothing that an Aussie Rules player doesn't get a dozen times in a regular game and for an instant I thought he was going to take it and roll with it. No such luck. As he was still airborne, he threw his hands in the air and lunged forward even though the momentum of the push he had received had long dissipated and he cartwheeled and landed on the pitch like a bag of potatoes hitting the bitumen after being thrown from the tailgate of a one ton truck. Feigning for a penalty. Turkey!

 After seeing some highlights of a couple of very hard fought AFL games over the weekend and with the second Rugby League State of Origin match coming up on Wednesday, I couldn't help but laugh at the exaggerated drama offered by this anonymous Frenchman which contrasts so incisively with sports I have grown up watching and appreciate. There are plenty of great athletes strutting their stuff at the World Cup but I think this kind of behaviour, though normal in any football game, demeans the sport and the players themselves and leaves them open to derogatory commentary from commentators such as myself who only look for an excuse to laugh at them and compare them unfavourably to athletes in other demanding sports.
But let the game and the Cup roll on and appreciate it. It has my grudging respect.

 Soccer is a game where Australians can turn a drubbing into a gallant defeat. I guess that is in our DNA considering our day of commemoration for our deeds in wartime is held on the anniversary of the beginning of a campaign which ended in defeat but is lauded as a gallant episode in our history.

 Australia lost 3-1 to Chile but played quite well apparently despite the scoreline. Holland is next and although we have just given the Dutch a bath in the final of the World Cup of Hockey, beating those lean, blonde, towering northern Europeans 6-1 to become World Champions again, they may just return the favour on the soccer pitch in Brazil. In any case, well done the Kookas, good luck the Socceroos.

 So, back to my "photo of the day". Any guesses? A charity soccer match was played behind where I am standing a few weeks after I was there although it is not usually used for sport. I'll be back next time with an answer if no one can get it.

 It is a foggy morn here in Canberra but I will rouse myself to head out into the day and partake in some excercise. Walking is the order of the day although cycling did cross my mind. Maybe next time. Rugging up for riding will take an eternity. I just need to pop my shoes on for a walk.

 Stay warm and dry and enjoy your day. It's a long road to the end of the week so conserve your energy and be good to all those who traipse through your orbit.

 Until next time.

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